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Got the camera and housing, what else do I need to think about.....


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#1 Longimanus1975

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 01:59 PM

After some advice from this forum and information from various other places I have got myself my setup, Nikon d7000, nauticam housing.
I have been using a point and shoot for the past 5 years and have learnt many things from pre dive planning to photographing specific subjects.
I am not trying to get any specific info from the photo taking side of things but more to do with things like the maintenance, planning side of things, so here go's, not in any particular order
How often do you clean your o rings? After every dive or every days diving?What tools do you travel with?Do you always have your housing passed to you or do you jump in with it? I always jumped in with my old housing and never had any problems.Do I need any desiccant in my housing?Can I travel with my camera in the housing?Do you have a specific setting for your camera when getting in the water, just in case something is there straight away?
Any other tips would also be much appreciated, I just don't want to mess anything up when I do my first dives.

#2 ChrigelKarrer

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 03:28 PM

Longimanus,
congratulations for your D7000 rig, a excellent choice!
The answers below reflect MY way of doing it because my experience and knowledge let me think that they are right,
other people will have other meanings about.

How often do you clean your o rings?

every time i close the housing i pass with my clean finger over it to feel/eliminate eventual sand/salt grains, hairs/lint, etc.
regreasing and cleaning when they are dirty on flat compression o-ring (Housing), regreasing and cleaning on twisted o-ring (battery tray of torches or strobes) approx every 5th use or when they are dry.
O-rings getting squeezed by a turning movement need the grease to reduce friction to avoid that they get twisted

What tools do you travel with?

a small box with the allen wrenches for my Hugyfot housing and spare grease and o-rings
depend where you go, if i would do a photo liveaboard i would stock up my tool and spare part box.

Do you always have your housing passed to you or do you jump in with it?


Jumping with the hosing is probably the second best was to flood a housing.
The best is leaving the camera in the rinse tank wit other cameras or trapping something between the o-ring
I personally consider the risk lower from handing the camera than jumping with it

Do I need any desiccant in my housing?

I don't use desiccants in the camera housing and don't have problems with fogging.
In humid places i flill the housing with dry air from a scuba tank or close the housing in the A/C'd room.
if you should experience problems with fogging follow the steps above, if problems persist use desiccants but be very careful to
not trap them between the seals.
Fogging occurs only when the difference between the inside and outside reach a certain point (dew point) and it usually happen when:
a) humid air inside housing (fill it with dry air or close it in a A/C'd room
b) Heat build-up inside the housing ( cover the camera with a towel or leave it in a personal bucket of sea water) and switch the camera off if not used
c) if the water temperature is colder than 22C/70F the risk of fogging rises with medium/high air humidity

Can I travel with my camera in the housing?

Yes you can, but i would NOT doing during long/er (airline) travels with the camera inside the housing as:
i use the camera during the travel - something can become loose inside - the housing can fall and its more heavy - etc.
I prepare the camera a home and carry it in the car inside a hard cooler and wrapped in a big, fluffy towel to the harbor.

Do you have a specific setting for your camera when getting in the water, just in case something is there straight away?

I do a full reset before i use the camera to be sure there are no counterproductive settings in memory and change and adapt the settings to
the current dive conditions. I use sometimes and in stable dive conditions the user settings on my Canon G12.

Check and recheck the functions of you camera before you close the housing and after again, the three famous errors are:
1 leaving the lens cap on the lens
2 the lever for AF/MF on tle left lower side is not in the right position so you can't switch back to AF if the cameras lever is in MF
3 The lens is in MF mode, especially the Tokinas lenses are prone to change to MF unintentional during assembling the housing
4 recheck all o-rings, especially the twisted, i just flooded my old D2000 as i snatched the o-ring in the tread and did not do a predive-check

General hints:
After i made the errors above (do i hear laughter coming from somewhere ...) i take a few test picture with the strobes firing immediately
after i assembled the rig to see if everything is working as supposed.
Take your camera to the pool to become comfortable with it, build a scene from a old big ceramic tile with glues on plastic animals as object,
this arrangement will help you to get comfortable with the camera, the controls and their functions.
Don't forget to have FUN!
Chris

P.S. Some more thoughts:

1 transporting your camera: i use a hard sided cooler with ONLY the camera inside. The camera is wrapped in a fluffy big towel for protection
2 use a cooler/box with a lid, you will always find somebody who put something inside the box and above the camera
3 Be very very careful with acrylic dome ports, i had somebody dropped a wet towel above my camera and the weight of it with the vibrations from the boat scratched the dome with the glue remains of the dome port "protection" cap made of neoprene. Check your cap for traces of glue!
4 I plaited from a thin nylon rope a thick handle with 2 snap hooks on both ends snap to the ULCS arms to have a handle for the heavy rig.
This makes long walks more comfortable and provide a handle for the boat crew handing the camera, while diving i clip it on my BCD

Edited by ChrigelKarrer, 02 May 2012 - 06:52 AM.

Nikon D800 - Sigma 15mm - Nikon 105mm Micro VR - Hugyfot Housing - 3 Inon Z-240 strobes - 2x2 8'' ULCS arms

Canon G12 with Patima aluminium housing - Fuji E900 with Ikelite housing
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#3 Steve Williams

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 04:20 PM

Congrats partner!

I would agree with our friend Chris pretty much across the board. In addition you asked about jump settings. In clear tropical water shooting W/A I have f/8 125th @ ISO 100 on my camera before I jump just in case there is a mermaid under the boat.

Enjoy!
Steve

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#4 ChrigelKarrer

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:09 PM

Oh, woww,
i just got promoted! :)
Thanks Steve for the "our Friend"!
:B):
Chris

Nikon D800 - Sigma 15mm - Nikon 105mm Micro VR - Hugyfot Housing - 3 Inon Z-240 strobes - 2x2 8'' ULCS arms

Canon G12 with Patima aluminium housing - Fuji E900 with Ikelite housing
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#5 JKrumsick

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 07:08 PM

I second Chris for EVERYTHING! That was a fantastic response!

A couple of extra things:

Make sure and check the tools as the USA airport security has confiscated my allen wrenches.
Another mistake is no CF card or dead battery (in the camera). A dead battery on a focus light or strobe can also ruin a photo dive. I got some fantastic rechargeable AA batteries from Asia and would replace them once a day (after doing 4-5 dives per day).
No need to clean your o-rings very often but check for hairs lying across the o-ring.

Again, Chris's response was diligent and could have given me much more confidence had I read that before shooting!

Best,
Jeremy

#6 Longimanus1975

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 11:53 PM

Guys, I would like to thank you all for the time in giving this info, especially Chris.

I think in my head I had all these things covered, but it is good to get the experienced ones backing me up.

One thing, I understand the risk with jumping in and appreciate this, one thing that I didnt consider is what to do if I have to roll off the back of a rib for a negative entry. Will I ok with just keeping the housing close to my chest? I have in the past had to do this and kick like crazy to get to the reef at Elphinstone, if it is a risk I may leave the camera next time.

I think I may take all these tips and put them on a laminated sheet as a checklist whilst setting up, that way I always do the same!

Lets hope all goes well

#7 ChrigelKarrer

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 05:56 AM

Longimanus,
i think i am not the only one who - randomly and exclusively during problematic dive conditions - do a back roll with the camera.
If i have to do it - but never with my D7000 rig - i hug the rig firmly on my chest to protect it from the impact and it never flooded one.
Sooner or later i will have to do it also with the D7000 rig and i have to decide between taking the camera with me or the risk of
flooding it. I probably would NOT do it under any circumstances with a Ikelite housing due their system of port lock or with any housing
and a big dome port attached as the strain on it may be too big.
The problem of jumping in with the camera is mainly related to the o-rings as at ambient pressure they may not sealing properly/strong and
during the impact water can get pushed trough the seal and may move the o-ring in a bad position.
Keep in mind that most of the camera flooding occurs at surface or shallow depths fir the above reason.
The nice thing of my Hugyfot housing is that i can/have to create a vacuum inside what is sucking the o-rings in place and
if the internal pressure will drop due a leak it trigger a audible and visible alarm.


Some hints regarding entries with current:
1 The dive operator should have a line running from bow till about at least 30 ft behind the boat so that you can pull yourself instead of kicking
2 A tool in the camera box would be a 10-15 ft. long thin rope with 2 snap hooks on each end to first the camera first in the water.
3 Attach the line somewhere on the stern in order that the camera is not pushed under the boat and hitting it while you enter.
4 Place a float near the end where the camera is to keep her floating of the line comes loose
5 We usually drop the divers well upstream the current so that the have time to get the camera while the current bring them to the decent line/buoy
6 If you have to enter with a back roll and the camera hug her as best as possible and/or wrap a plastic bag around it to protect from impact
7 Store the bag in your BCD pocket during the dive, it may come handy to collect garbage
Chris

Edited by ChrigelKarrer, 02 May 2012 - 05:58 AM.

Nikon D800 - Sigma 15mm - Nikon 105mm Micro VR - Hugyfot Housing - 3 Inon Z-240 strobes - 2x2 8'' ULCS arms

Canon G12 with Patima aluminium housing - Fuji E900 with Ikelite housing
Visit My Costa Rica Website - Visit My Italy Website


#8 gina

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 06:18 AM

One thing, I understand the risk with jumping in and appreciate this, one thing that I didnt consider is what to do if I have to roll off the back of a rib for a negative entry. Will I ok with just keeping the housing close to my chest? I have in the past had to do this and kick like crazy to get to the reef at Elphinstone, if it is a risk I may leave the camera next time.


If I'm doing a backroll from a boat close to the water (like a skiff) I do this: While sitting on the side of the boat I hold the camera in the water with a stiff-ish arm, off to the side. Then when I roll in the camera stays with me, but since it is already at the surface it does not impact the water during my entry.

I don't know about your housing, but the instructions for my Aquatica specifically say DO NOT travel with the camera in the housing. With the weight of the camera on them any movement or vibration may torque the camera mounts out of alignment.

Finally, Berkley from Backscatter gave me this wonderful bit of advice: after setting up your kit take a photo in a mirror or other reflective surface, then look at the results. This will guarantee three things - your auto-focus is working, your lens cap is off, and your strobes are firing properly.

Have fun!

-Gina

#9 ChrigelKarrer

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 06:27 AM

If I'm doing a backroll from a boat close to the water (like a skiff) I do this: While sitting on the side of the boat I hold the camera in the water with a stiff-ish arm, off to the side. Then when I roll in the camera stays with me, but since it is already at the surface it does not impact the water during my entry.

Excellent point Gina!
This should work also on a RIB like Longimanus mentioned as they are usually low enough to reach the water.
would add to take care that the camera is pushed away from the boat once the diver droping in the water to avoid banging the rig against the hull.
Chris

Nikon D800 - Sigma 15mm - Nikon 105mm Micro VR - Hugyfot Housing - 3 Inon Z-240 strobes - 2x2 8'' ULCS arms

Canon G12 with Patima aluminium housing - Fuji E900 with Ikelite housing
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#10 Longimanus1975

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 07:06 AM

Thanks again, some more great tips, esp the one about putting the camera in the water before rolling off the back and taking a picture in front of the mirror!

#11 Longimanus1975

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 10:29 AM

One last thing (I think), do you have your camera attached to yourself in any way, I used to have my old point and shoot attached by an extending spring lanyard, I am thinking it is a good thing to still do

#12 gina

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 12:49 PM

One last thing (I think), do you have your camera attached to yourself in any way, I used to have my old point and shoot attached by an extending spring lanyard, I am thinking it is a good thing to still do


I use a Cetacea lanyard (something like this: http://www.cetaceaco...-2-3-4-5-6.html ) to secure my DSLR housing to my BC. And there have been a few times when it has been a life- (well, a camera-) saver!

-Gina

#13 ChrigelKarrer

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 02:54 PM

Longimanus,
as i added in the first post, i made me a lanyard with a snap bolts on either end to carry the whole rig.
Nauticam is selling something similar, you can build something similar for half price (but not so elegant!), look here:
http://www.amazon.co...s/dp/B006UDAZ0Q
When i am ready to take pictures i clip the lanyard on my BCD where it stays till the end of the dive.
I keep the camera always in my hands, but if i need my hands free i can hook it on one of the snap bolt and my hands are clear.
I personally don't like to have the camera attached to me, only my GoPro is attached to my BCD with a coil-Lanyard like the one Gina uses.
If i would dive on a wall too deep to reach the bottom i probably would use my home made lanyard to avoid that the camera
rocket down.

You will also need to find a way to bring your rig to a neutral buoyancy and take the decision if you want it generally slightly floating or sinking
on depth. This is only important regarding what happens when you loose the camera, will she sink or will she float on the surface.
my experience as captain and instructor is that it is difficult to find the camera floating and i personally prefer when she is slight negative.
The shop where you bought the rig may help you with their experience how much flotation the whole set-up need to become +/- neutral.
possible solutions are Stix floats elements on the strobe arms, float arms, float collar for the dome port and several home made solutions.
Have a look here, ask here and google to find zillions of commercial and home made floats and especially what is NOT working like:
Pool Noodles (crush and loose buoyancy below 10 metersl) and aluminium drinking bottles (good till 28 Meters, then they implode even if filled with PU foam).

Chris

Edited by ChrigelKarrer, 02 May 2012 - 02:56 PM.

Nikon D800 - Sigma 15mm - Nikon 105mm Micro VR - Hugyfot Housing - 3 Inon Z-240 strobes - 2x2 8'' ULCS arms

Canon G12 with Patima aluminium housing - Fuji E900 with Ikelite housing
Visit My Costa Rica Website - Visit My Italy Website


#14 Longimanus1975

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 09:57 PM

Cheers

Gina, that is very similar to the one that I had for my point and shoot, thanks for that.

I already have stix floats and have been given rough info on what is needed for each setup. I have the Tokina mini dome and the 60 mm macro port at present, so it's really a bit of trial and error on the first dives to work out my buoyancy.

Edited by Longimanus1975, 02 May 2012 - 11:33 PM.